Aerospace Daily Sept 15
FUNDING & POLICY
NEW DELHI — Taking another step toward Network-Centric Warfare (NCW) operations, Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony has launched the $229 million AFNET (Air Force Network).
AFNET will be a critical link for the air force between its command and control center and sensors such as the Airborne Early Warning and Control System, combat jets and missile squadrons.
Interception of simulated enemy targets in the western center by a pair of MiG-29 fighters from an advanced airbase in the Punjab sector was played live on screens at the launch.
The project is part of the overall mission to network all three military services and comes in the wake of an Information Technology Roadmap document from the Defense Ministry.
Telecommunications Minister A. Raja said in an address that robust communication is critical for synergy among forces and for success in future operations.
The ministry of defense and department of telecommunications last year signed a memorandum of understanding to free radio spectrum for defense forces over the next three years. The agreement followed at least two years of negotiations. It involves defense forces vacating spectrum once the telecommunications department builds them an alternative optical fiber cable network.
The military is a major user of spectrum due to the mobile nature of its operations. The rapid growth of mobile telephone users in India has caused spectrum demand to increase exponentially.
Radio spectrum, an increasingly scarce resource, is the carrier of voice signals between wireless devices such as cell phones. India is the fastest growing mobile telephone market in the world. Seventeen million additional users were added in July alone.
– Neelam Mathews